Jesse D. Boak 1928-2021
NEW CASTLE, Pa. — Jessie Donald Boak, 93, born April 13, 1928, in Pittsburgh, Pa., to Jesse F. Boak and Lela Dean Boak of New Castle, went to our Lord Tuesday, June 15, 2021.
He married Estelle R. Pines Boak, Sept. 2, 1950; she pre-deceased him March 2, 1995.
Survivors include wife, Donna White Fisher Boak; three daughters, Candace L. Gonzales, Carolle L. (Norman) Moses of New Castle, and Sandra J. (John) Grace of Urbandale, Iowa; one son, Stephen A. (Dianna) Boak of New Castle; two stepchildren, Kathy (Dan) Ludwig and Gil (Terri) Fisher; seven grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
Jesse was the valedictorian of New Castle High School (Academic and Technical), 1946 and enjoyed his five years of Latin studies. He worked during school at various jobs, including distributing papers for the New Castle News, and machine shop work at two of the war plants, all to help support his family.
Jesse served in the Army, 1946-47, during which he trained at the Defense Mapping School at Fort Belvoir, Va., then served as a topological draftsman in Panama.
He earned a mechanical engineering degree from Tri State College, Ind., with studies at Westminster College, New Wilmington, Pa., and was a member of Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity. He was an active career member of the Society of Professional Engineers, professional trade magazine author, and volunteer, including serving on the city sanitation board. He was employed at Bell Aircraft, Lombard Company, Stardrill Keystone, and became long-time chief engineer at North American Rockwell, Spring Division, New Castle, through its closure, subsequently employed at Portersville Valve until retirement.
Known as Jess (to work colleagues) or Don (to family and close friends), he was a loving and devoted family man and friend, known to all for his kind, charitable, humorous, intelligent nature, with remarkably even temperament. He was a keen competitor and enjoyed playing pick-up baseball (in youth), billiards, golf, bridge, poker, and especially bowling, even in his 80s. He bowled with the Slovak Club for more than 50 years. His hobbies included horse race handicapping, newspaper word puzzles and crosswords, cartoons in daily and Sunday papers, and he read all manner of science articles. He handed to his family his extensively compiled genealogy charts and related family stories, and noted for his curiosity on numerous topics and ability to hold great conversations.
He was an emeritus board member and supporter of nearly forgotten Oak Grove Disciples of Christ Christian Church cemetery, and drafter of its updated plot and burial map with much researched history notes and measurements. He was a member of St. John Lutheran Church, New Castle.
Jesse taught much about life by example and in discussions (right and wrong, caring for those with illness, safety, finance, home and vehicle repair) to his children and grandchildren, leading by modest example and aiding them throughout their lives.
Just a man. Average stature. Huge heart. Generous with his time. A positive influencer to family, friends and the many strangers he helped throughout his long years.
A celebration of life will be held at a later date. Memorial contributions may be sent to National Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, St. John Lutheran Church, or other favored charity if desired.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the R. Cunningham Funeral Home and Crematory, Inc., 2429 Wilmington Road, New Castle, where online condolences may be offered to the family by visiting www.cunninghamfh.com.